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Compass Arizona Grill

Review of Compass Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona

About.com Rating four out of Five

Compass Arizona Grill - What I Liked

  • Best view in Phoenix
  • Perfect portions
  • Pleasing food presentation
  • Not a typical hotel dining room
  • One entree (and salads and sides) to please vegetarians

Compass Arizona Grill - Be Aware

  • The menu is not extensive
  • Don't be in a rush when dining here
  • Window tables are very dark
  • There is motion as the restaurant revolves; some people might feel uncomfortable
Compass Arizona Grill in Phoenix, AZ
Compass Arizona Grill is the only revolving restaurant in Phoenix, AZ © Judy Hedding

Compass Arizona Grill - The Mood
The Compass Arizona Grill is an upscale, award-winning restaurant in downtown Phoenix near the Phoenix Convention center, Symphony Hall, Herberger Theatre, Dodge Theatre and other entertainment venues. It is located within the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. Compass works for a romantic dinner, business meeting, a corporate dinner party, or after-theatre drinks in the lounge. The Compass Arizona Grill is often found on the Wine Spectator Award list. It is open for dinner only, seven days per week.

Compass Arizona Grill - The Damages
During our visit to Compass Arizona Grill we shared some appetizers, ordered one soup, one salad, two entrées (entrées each come with choice of one side dish) and two desserts. That was four courses. The bill, excluding beverages, tax and tip, came to about $75 per person. It is absolutely possible to enjoy a 3-course meal here for $50 per person.

My Review of Compass Arizona Grill

Compass Arizona Grill in Phoenix, AZ
1/2 Rack Colorado Lamb at Compass Arizona Grill © Judy Hedding

Long time Phoenix residents are sure to still call Compass Arizona Grill by its former name, The Compass Room. It opened in 1976 and is the only revolving restaurant in Arizona. Your 360° view of the Valley of the Sun takes less than an hour, and, weather permitting, you'll be able to see the entire downtown area and beyond from the 24th floor of the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

At Compass Arizona Grill you'll be able to experience a variety of flavors, but the influence, while occasionally Asian, is mostly Southwest. Warm jalapeño corn muffins are a tasty indication of the delights to come. During our visit to Compass we sampled several of the appetizers, which ranged in price from $9 to $16. The most popular, as we were told, is the Nimbus Drunken Shrimp ($16). Too much salty sauce (like Cajun blackened flavoring) for me, the Coriander Beef Skewers with Onion Rings ($14) was my preference, with the Tamarind BBQ Tuna with mango and jicama ($12) a close second. The Tomato Pineapple Salad ($9) was different, cool and fresh with a bit of a southwest kick. Eggplant Bisque ($7) with crab and tomato was a definite winner.

Compass Arizona Grill in Phoenix, AZ
Molten Lava Cake at Compass Arizona Grill © Judy Hedding

Both entrées we tried were very good; I can recommend both the Beef Tenderloin ($37) and the 1/2 Rack Colorado Lamb ($38). They were both flavorful, tender, and prepared exactly as ordered. The Creamed Spinach side dish was unusual, with the cream served on the side. No little bits of chopped spinach swimming in sauce here. The Baked Chorizo Mac & Cheese was excellent -- it was spicy with just the right amount of cheese. We tried the Peach Pecan Cobbler ($6) with a distinctive, heavily nutmeg/clove flavor and just the right amount of crunchy cobbler. The Molten Lava Cake ($6) was wonderful, with fresh, moist cake surrounding that lovely, smooth chocolate filling.

Portions at Compass Arizona Grill may not be intended for sharing, but it is nice for a change to get just the correct portion of food. We were satisfied, not overstuffed when it was time to leave. Oh, and about that time to leave -- some people may consider service here slow. Our dinner took over two hours, but we also weren't in any rush. 

Compass Arizona Grill
Compass Arizona Grill © Judy Hedding

If you want to enjoy the sunset from your table, make your reservations for at least 30 minutes before you expect the sun to go down to get the full show and to have your first glass of wine already in hand! The premium tables are the ones nearest the windows. You will, however, feel the motion there more than at the outside row of tables, where you can still enjoy the view. The outside tables also had more light; our window table was very dark (we were offered a flashlight to read) and even seeing our food was sometimes difficult. One full rotation of the restaurant takes less than an hour, so for a nice, multicourse meal you'll enjoy the full view at least twice. If two of you are seated by the window, you might want to position yourselves side-by-side, both facing the direction of the forward rotation. 

Where to Find Compass Arizona Grill:
Hyatt Regency Phoenix
122 North Second Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85004

602-252-1234

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Date of review: February 2010. 
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary meal for the purpose of the review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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